RHIANNON Packer, 48, lost both her father and grandmother to cancer.

Now, the senior lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University is walking to raise money for Marie Curie Cardiff and the Vale Hospice in Penarth, where they were cared for.

“When Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer almost 10 years ago, it hit us all really hard,” said Rhiannon, of Penarth. “I can remember that week was a whirlwind of emotions; my daughter was born on the Monday, my husband was made redundant on the Wednesday, and Dad was diagnosed on the Friday – it was a really challenging time.”

“Dad’s cancer was quite aggressive and he was told that he had about five years to live. Towards the end of his life, a Marie Curie nurse came to our home and provided amazing care. Mum wanted him to stay at home, but Dad wanted to be in the hospice, as I think he didn’t want mum to have to provide the majority of his care. Dad spent the last two weeks of his life at the hospice and the whole family was with him at the end.

“It was a really difficult time for us all and six months after he died, my Gran, Dad’s mum, found out she had lung cancer. She too, was cared for in the hospice and again the care by the nurses was second to none.

“After they had both passed away, I started looking for ways that I could fundraise for Marie Curie, to say thank you for the amazing support that my family had received. That’s when I came across Step into Spring.

“Walking every day helped me get over my grief, particularly as it was a way of remembering my Dad. It gave me a chance to think and reflect on everything that had happened and I know that Dad’s still here in my heart.”

She said: “I ended up raising £630.00 and I was delighted with that. I couldn’t believe how generous people were. I’d definitely take on the challenge again, as it encouraged me to get active whilst doing something good for a charity that did so much for us.”

Marie Curie’s Step into Spring campaign, part of their Great Daffodil Appeal fundraiser, challenges people to walk 10,000 steps every day in March.

Marie Curies runs nine hospices across the UK, and helped over 40,000 terminally ill people between 2014 and 2015.

To find out more or sign up for the challenge, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/get-involved/fundraise/stepintospring